Technology and business – why the future is now
We’re in the midst of a technical revolution, and the companies that are flexible enough to adapt quickly to change will be the ones that will thrive in the years ahead. This is the new normal, says Ben Dowd, Business Director at O2.
Change is all around us, and it’s happening at an unprecedented rate. Everywhere, from the iPhone completely transforming the world’s idea of what a mobile phone can be, to Google evolving from a search engine into a multitude of services, and wifi, once proudly known only to geeks as the IEEE 802.11 specification for wireless local area networks, which is helping to make us the mobile society that we are today.
Essentially all technology has evolved beyond what was originally expected of it and that’s happening because we as business owners, consumers and employees are evolving too. We’re wanting to do more, faster and better and the breakthroughs of the past decade all show a growing demand for enhanced, more flexible and more connected experiences.
Get more, faster
Innovation will of course continue to evolve, with no end in sight, driven by people and enabled by technology. Wired magazine founder and author of What Technology Wants, Kevin Kelly, summed up this evolution very well, saying: “Technology wants what life wants: Increasing efficiency; increasing opportunity; increasing emergence; increasing complexity; increasing diversity; increasing specialisation; increasing ubiquity; increasing freedom; increasing mutualism; increasing beauty; increasing sentience; increasing structure; increasing evolvability.”
Which basically means we’re getting more, and we’re getting it faster. But the problem with tech evolution is that it’s too often driven by what companies decide to sell us based on what they believe we as consumers will pay for. I believe the equation should be more equal, with learning flowing both ways. Many of today’s workforces may not even remember the days when a mobile phone was just a phone. Yet Ofcom now refers to a ‘mobile society’ as more and more people are spending their time online via their phones.
This means organisations have a growing opportunity not just to reach out to new customers more effectively through mobile, but also to connect with their customers and users in a more meaningful way through data-driven insight. This is why I believe it’s more important than ever for service organisations like O2 to truly understand how people, industry and markets are evolving and developing, so that we can offer outcome-focused, mobile-led digital services that people actually want.
Flexibility is key
The rapid rise of Bitcoin is a prime example of technological flexibility in action. From an abstract concept to a billion-dollar industry in just a few years, the idea of a financial system free of banks and governments is turning the traditional concept of currency on its head. And in this fast-paced digital world, businesses have to be able to change direction and realign to new concepts and new markets instantly. Traditional ways of doing business are just too slow and too expensive in an increasingly fast-paced and digitised world.
Because of this, all organisations, big and small, public and private, have to be designed specifically for regular change and evolving customer demands. This is the new normal. Those that are connected to evolving trends, and flexible enough to respond to them, will be able to compete and lead in this new, fast-changing normality where technology is used for new ways of working as opposed to simply trying to adapt traditional analogue processes to fit a digital infrastructure.
All of this reaffirms the importance of digital transformation and its vital role in business evolution. O2 is uniquely positioned with an expert understanding of what people and businesses need to succeed in these challenging times. With our mobile heritage, we have an excellent grasp of the challenges that mobilisation present for our customers. Resolving these challenges has to start with today’s changing work and lifestyles.
How people want to work, buy and sell defines what we offer in terms of personalisation, benefits and service. The ability of ourselves, and many others, to do this well, is crucial to our survival, and fundamental to the ongoing success of the UK economy.